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ATHLETE – TOURIST - EMI
Record Rating: ***

Athlete - Tourist - EMI Athlete hails from South London and was formed in 2000 by a group of childhood friends — Joel Pott (vocals, guitar), Carey Willetts (guitar), Tim Wanstall (bass), and Steve Roberts (drums). The band makes a cool, easy brand of appealing Brit pop music that bands like Blur and Coldplay began their career with.

The band returns from the moderate success of their debut Vehicles & Animals with another album of catchy well-written tunes on the follow up Tourist. The first single, Wires, definitely is a major highlight. It was written when lead singer Pott’s daughter was born premature, and suffered complications. This heartfelt single is a good indication of what to expect and probably the album's finest track, but there are plenty of other gems among the eleven tracks.

Big potential hits include Chances, Tourist and Twenty Four Hours. Then there’s the relaxingly blended yet brilliantly touching Yesterday Threw Everything At Me – something that could easily have been left of an early Elton John album. It’s true, that Athlete really doesn’t do anything new with pop music but that doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate their effort at trying. As the album progresses I must admit that my interest does waver, but with that said, I am patient and at the end rewarded with great tracks like If I Found Out and I Love that grow on you with each listen. I am impressed with their ability to put together a fantastic slow song. The band does well on this second effort, for Tourist manages to sound both epic and personal at the same time - something Radiohead did with their second album The Bends. (That incidentally is one of the greatest Britpop albums of all time!)

The verdict – the album is pretty impressive, but nothing you’ve not heard before on the last Coldplay or Keane effort. Still, their music has already begun to receive an outstanding response in the press, TV & radio all over the world (all thanks to this albums first single Wires) so those with any sense would place bets on Athlete being one of the biggest bands of 2005. I can’t wait to see what they put together next.

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